Or, as we say in the Bucher house…the “Puddin’.” We’re usually, affectionately, referring to my husband’s belly. However, this Christmas Eve, we added a bit of the real deal to our Christmas Eve tradition. The first Christmas in our new home, one can imagine my excitement to deck the halls and have plenty of room to spread out while baking my traditional truck load of Christmas cookies. I was eclipsed, however, by my husband’s excitement to deck the outdoors….and…what we now have tagged, “Bucher’s Winter Wonderland.”
Let me explain a little something about my husband. Love of my life, knight in shining armor…but a carbon copy of Clark Griswold. I, myself, have little room to talk. I get way in over my head in projects…the most recent carpeting the basement solo. However, on vacation, he packs so much into our schedule that we actually have pictures taken from the car as we pass by scenery, or…quite literally..the woods. Deep in the woods. On a dirt road that is not on the GPS. In. The. Woods.
Always one to get extremely into the Christmas spirit, he could not wait to get outside and candy-stripe the front porch beams, add lit garland, and stick Christmas wreaths to every upstairs window. (By the way…they do make suction cups that do, in fact, hold the wreaths on in wind, snow, rain, and sleet. Yes, Jim, you were right. Revel in it.) After the outside looked like something out of White Christmas, he photographed it for the builders and all to see.
Then, he began his next project.
See, when we built our house we opted for an open loft on the second floor, with a ledge to display something in the center two windows. My vision for “the ledge,” was a huge lit Christmas wreath. That was not what “Clark” Bucher had in mind.
“Who cares about what they see from the outside…I want to look at something cool from the inside,” he stated. Fair enough. Not a bad idea… And under construction went the tribute to the old Higbee’s store window at Christmastime, residing right in the comfort of our very own home. First there was a tree. A 6 foot tall tree. Then, there were “presents” under the tree. Fake snow. Lights. A bird house. Birds for the bird house. More woodland creatures. A snowman. Snowmen on a ladder “decorating” the tree. Top it all off with a moving Santa, and you have “Bucher Winter Wonderland.”
What more appropriate tradition to set in the Bucher home on Christmas Eve is there…than “Puddin’?” None. None more appropriate. Thus, began my family Christmas Eve tradition. On top of the “Bucher Winter Wonderland” that will undoubtably remain a holiday favorite for more years than my husband feels daring enough to attempt that tall of a climb on a ladder, we now had some puddin.’
Being my perpetual knight in shining armor, when he saw me going through the motions of my parents moving away (I’ve never lived more than an hour away from them my whole life…and being right down the street and in the same little lake town for most of the past decade as made them part of our little immediate family more so than others.), my husband jumped into Holiday Spirit Mode that night as well. Picking up steaks to grill and shrimp to snack on, he went to work on the grill as my little girls and I got dressed up and ready for the Christmas Eve church service. We set the table all fancy together and Brianne and I made Holiday Pudding. As I sat around the table that night, I felt more blessed than ever before.
Shortly after, at church, we watched our little angels perform as just that in the church pageant. Well, one angel made it down with her halo and wings in tact…the other “had to go to the bathroom” and made a late entrance from the side. (I think we can guess which princess that was…Lo.) As I sat there, I started to realize how many Christmas traditions of our own we already had. Singing silent night by candlelight every Christmas Eve at church; checking out all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood on the way home; setting our presents to each other out under the tree; watching The Polar Express with hot chocolate off the stove. The girls set their cookies out for Santa, and went to bed dreaming of Baby Jesus and Rudolph. As it should be.
In light of missing my parents terribly, God had found a way to strengthen me beyond my understanding. The perspective that He grants is unexplainable. It was heart wrenching picturing everyday life without them one block down the street. But, God told me not to hold on to the status quo. Not to fear the unknown. To let go. Maybe…to start new traditions.
Trust me, no one can pick me up and dry my tears…making me feel justified for having shed them, yet realize it’s time to wipe them away…like God does.
Cheers to Holiday Pudding and Winter Wonderlands.
Happy Christmas Memories!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” -Psalm 46:1
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power than is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!” Ephesians 3:20-21
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers then from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34: 17-18